November 19, 2021

Interesting Hiking

We've been hiking a trail which is about a 25 minute drive from home.  It's not horribly long, but it has lots of things which make it interesting.   It's a circle trail, it has educational spots to explain the local wildlife, pollinator plants, the local lime industry etc.   It has a dog park, several look out points, picnic spots and sie trails so you can wander around on a new trail every time you go.  It runs alongside the river part way, which has been most interesting.   

Lately, we've been seeing a lot of chewed and knocked down trees.  These aren't saplings but trees which are at least 30 cm in diameter and bigger.

As there are no wildlife signs for beavers posted, I wondered if muskrats could do this sort of damage.   There is was a lovely little grove poplar or aspen trees just when you enter the trail.   All the big trees were either chewed down, or in the process of being chewed.

We were there on the weekend and we saw this!  It seems to be a beaver dam under construction.   Since it's in the Thames river, I can't imagine the beaver having the ability to dam the whole river up, but he could have a nice sheltered home for the winter.

I wonder if the people who take care of the trail, will let the beaver stay?  It's made for a lot of curiosity, and interesting conversation over the past few weeks.

We've been having picnics at this spot, overlooking a man-made lake for  water/run off control.  It's spectacularly beautiful and makes you feel you are in some sort of wilderness area.   I spent a fair time watching, what I thought was a muskrat, playing in the water.   I wonder if it was the above beaver instead?   I didn't have a camera with a strong enough lens, to capture it from where I was and my phone would only show little ripples.    I didn't think I needed a 300mm lens or bigger, but I've found a number of situations where it would have been nice to have.

Here is the lake and lookout from a different vantage point, the last time we visited it.  The snow has all melted now, fallen a second time and melted once again.  Except on our deck, which gets no sunshine during the winter months.  

November 07, 2021

Yarn Chicken for the Win!

 Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win!  Yes!  The grey and self-patterning socks I just finished, I lost and and ran out of the grey, a few rows before I switched colours.   This time, I won, with about 60 cm, or 2 ft. to spare.   Happy me!

  I dyed this yarn several years ago and it sat in the bin.  The yarn base was a tad thicker than I prefer, and thus a bit less yardage.   I used a waffle weave pattern for a change from my usual 3/1 ribbing for every day socks.  I wasn't sure if I liked the colour when skeined, but once knitted, it's quite nice.  A very pumpkin sort of colour, with a bit of orange, a bit of copper and a bit of green.

November 03, 2021

Scarves off the loom

 We don't have a local yarn or fabric store here.  There is however, a large mill ends warehouse, where they have a large stock of regular yarns, quilting fabrics, sewing fabrics, as well as the over stock and over run items.   It's the one place where you can buy last year's hockey logo t-shirt for $5 and full price yarn.   Their sales though, are often really good.   I got 10 yards of brocade there last year for $6.   I was after some tapestry for a pseudo carpet bag project, which I didn't find, but got the brocade instead.  They put fabrics and yarns on sale regularly, with bright yellow tags.   Once in a while they then put those on for half price.   I found a bunch of gradient shawl skeins at one of those sales.  These are knitting yarns and can be a tad delicate to weave with.  I tried one, which was peach to deep burgundy or dark red.  The contrast was too much and the scarf which got the lighter weft, just looked wrong. 

  Next time they had the sale, they still had some of those gradient skeins.   I found 3 different colourways with much less contrast.   This is my favourite so far, in browns, greys and yellows.   Not colours I might normally wear, but very pretty when woven up.   I just got these off the loom this morning!  These ones are cotton and acrylic.    They are a tad longer, running between 74 and 79 inches in length and they are 6 inches in width.   

These are the mauve ones, although I'd call them purple.  They colours run from white, grey and a variety of purples.   They are quite nice, even though there is a bit more contrast with these.   

I have one more set of scarves like this to put on the loom.   They run from grey, green to purple.  I just noticed the grey in the skeins today, so my fingers are crossed, it's not too bright with the other colours.   The nice thing about these is that they appeal to people who are afraid of wearing wool, or can't afford the really soft commercial wools, silks, alpaca, etc.    I can sell these for less money because the materials are far less.  The downside is that the skeins are not easily replaceable, so all of this is single, unrepeatable runs.    It would be too expensive to purchase this yarn at full price though, and make the selling price too high to be worth it, as I don't think they'd sell at a similar price point to a silk blend or wool scarf.

Once these scarves are done, I will have a bag full of the leftover yardage from a run of different colours and yarn brands, all in a similar weight.  I'm thinking of running a few scarves off with a mixed warp and maybe a black weft.   But that goes on the project list and who knows which one will get woven off next.